(West Coast Sea Grant Programs collaborative funding effort - social science research)

Identifying Effective Process and Outcome Characteristics and Practice-Relevant Metrics for Successful Adaptation to Climate Change (2012-14)

Principal Investigator: Pamela Matson, Stanford University

Co-PIs: Amy Snover, University of Washington, Seattle; Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University

Associate PI: Susanne Moser, Stanford University

Funding: West Coast Sea Grant programs
Oregon contact: Hannah Gosnell

Climate change will have widespread environmental, economic and social impacts, forcing coastal communities to face difficult choices and trade-offs in the decades ahead. Managing the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on coastal resources is a major concern in all three West Coast states; state agencies and governors have publicly acknowledged the need for adaptation and begun to develop strategies to manage the effects of climate change, as have many local, tribal and federal entities. In this context, one big and difficult question increasingly arises: What would successful adaptation to climate change look like?

The research team will attempt to answer that question by engaging scientists and coastal resource professionals, and will share the solutions they develop with the West Coast and the nation. These answers are essential for the success of climate adaptation efforts, and for the success of Sea Grant’s mission of hazard resilient coastal communities.

Workshop goals include reaching a common understanding of desirable adaptation outcomes, while explicitly addressing some of the most persistent, vexing challenges of coastal zone management, including:

  • Public versus private rights and responsibilities
  • Ecological vs. human needs
  • Near- vs. longer-term objectives.

The project will target relevant, applicable policies, carefully selecting participants and engaging in regional policy, planning, training and outreach processes before, during, and after the project. Beneficiaries include local, state, federal and tribal policymakers, coastal professionals and stakeholders, the National Climate Assessment effort and other adaptation groups.